Tuesday July 14th was the original date for the MLB All Star Game, or what some fans refer to as mid-season. Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff appears to be in mid-season form despite not pitching in any games yet.
While I’m sure back in March, Woodruff had intentions of pitching at Dodger Stadium for the MLB All Star Game, the reality is that he found himself gearing up to start the regular season. However, it’s obvious that Woodruff kept his arm in baseball shape during quarantine because he has been lights out so far in Brewers summer camp.
Woodruff made his first ‘start’ of summer camp on July 9th during a simulated game. The biggest takeaway from his first start was how great his off-speed pitches were, in particular his changeup. Christian Yelich was a two time strikeout victim of Brandon Woodruff, one of which came via the changeup.
In 2019, Woodruff threw his changeup 14% of the time. His slider came in second at 20% and his high velocity fastball at 64%. We do not know how his pitch distribution will look in 2020, but early on, it is safe to say his changeup looks much improved from years previous.
Woodruff’s second ‘start’ of summer camp came on July 14th during the first game of the Blue vs Gold series. He would exit in the 5th inning of the game due to reaching a predetermined pitch count.
In start number two, Woodruff would again get the best of Brewers superstar Christian Yelich as he struck him out three times! That makes five times Brandon Woodruff has fanned Yelich during summer camp.
The only run Woodruff allowed in his second start was a solo home run from Justin Smoak. It was still a good pitch as Woodruff threw a heater on the inside corner, but Smoak was just able to muscle a home run out in right field.
While no Opening Day starter has been announced so far, many believe Brandon Woodruff will get the nod on July 24th vs the Cubs. In fact, it appears Craig Counsell is ramping Woodruff’s pitch count up appropriately by having him pitch every five days since the start of summer camp.
Given how Woodruff performed for the Brewers in 2019 he is certainly the most deserving to start on Opening Day. Another plus is that he will be ready to throw over 80 pitches on Opening Day and hopefully work deep into the game when he shuts down the Cubs!
Woodruff is looking like he’s in mid-season form already and that’s good news for the Brewers.